Michigan’s grayling reintroduction effort is intended to reestablish self-sustaining populations. It is also intended to build knowledge and inform future restoration efforts in Michigan and elsewhere. After examining information from recent studies in Michigan and Montana, knowledge gaps were identified which currently limit agencies’ ability to successfully restore naturally-reproducing populations of grayling in Michigan streams. The main research objective is to improve chances of success by addressing these gaps.


Hundreds of streams in Michigan may have historically held grayling, and could potentially support the species again. To ensure success, it is critical to focus on streams and watersheds that are most suitable to grayling restoration efforts at this time. After thorough review, the Manistee River watershed was selected for initial reintroduction work. However, the Manistee River has more than one hundred tributaries, and additional prioritization effort is required to identify a subset of streams where success is most likely. In support of this effort, the partners are 1) developing a rational approach to prioritizing streams for reintroduction, 2) identifying information needed for the prioritization process, and 3) assembling existing data and collecting new data to support the prioritization work.


For more detailed information on the Research Focus Area, please view the Action Plan section for Research.

Research Goals:

  1. Coordinate and facilitate evaluation of Remote Site Incubator rearing efforts.

  2. Coordinate and facilitate prioritization of streams for grayling reintroduction.

  3. Identify and develop approaches to address key knowledge gaps.

  4. Seek funding and work with external partners to address knowledge gaps.

Link for Research Information, Studies, Papers, etc.

In-stream remote site incubators (RSIs)

Pictured above: In-stream remote site incubators (RSIs) installed in river to incubate eggs.

The Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, announced a proposed initiative in June 2016 that aims to bring back an extirpated species to the state – Arctic grayling.  The Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative seeks to establish self-sustaining populations of this species throughout its historical range in Michigan. The initiative has more than 50 partners collaborating on the reintroduction.

The next steps include identifying interest and abilities of partners, collecting baseline data, initiating the building of broodstock and stocking efforts. The Manistee River watershed, once known as a premier grayling river, will be the first location for reintroduction.

The DNR will work closely with partners as the proposed Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative moves forward. The Little River Band, located in Manistee County, has been engaged in extensive research for potential grayling reintroduction for several years.

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In-stream remote site incubators (RSIs)